Posts from the ‘nonfiction’ Category

FAMILIAR AND FUN

Piano Made Easy: Learn to Play Nursery Rhymes

By Piano Made Easy Press

This book lives up to its title. It is a learning guide that focuses on familiar tunes from cultures across the world. The introduction section is important to spend time learning the basics. There are clear visuals and simple text explanations. This section must be mastered to proceed to the next level.

The book can be used with very young children with parent or teacher guidance. The songs are familiar to school children and fun to play. As the student gains more confidence, she can move up to level two in the series or graduate to more difficult sheet music.

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GO INWARD THEN FORWARD

The Change Guidebook: How to Align Your Heart, Truths, and Energy to Find Success in All Areas of Your Life 

Written by Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino

Most people would agree we would like to become the best we can be, but how many of us, are willing to put in the effort to achieve that lofty goal?

Guarino has made it possible by providing a simple framework to make it possible for us to grow and change as we move through life. She provides ten points of change in three phrases to help the reader become happier.

These three phases align our heart, our truths, and finally our energy. As one discovers herself, she must act. Guarino provides assessments that help us to think, write, talk, and finally, act. The reader learns to create power phrases and then complete exercises to practice implementing those actions. Practical suggestions help us manage our time and energy. For those who enjoy a challenge, a discussion quiz allows a way to gain certification in completion of the course in recognition of the arduous work and progress made on the path to change and true happiness.

Take the first step to becoming a better you.

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 BLANK PAGE? GET STARTED

Bright Ideas: Creative Writing for Children

Written by Luisa Plaja

While this book is written to inspire children, anyone of any age who wants to write will find it useful.

It gives prompts to jumpstart the writing process. First, simple ideas to create a story. Then, scenarios for creating compelling characters. Can’t think of a plot? Plaja provides ideas to weave details into a finished plot. She even includes suggestions for creating the dialogue between characters and finding an appropriate title. Before closing, the author tackles organization with suggestions for keeping track of your progress.

The book provides a quick reminder of writing tasks and a good reference checklist for the newbie or established writers.

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Don’t Quit Podcast – Why Learning History is Important For Your Life, A Discussion with Nick Mann

Take a listen, March 20, 2022

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW A SECRET?

Do you ever wonder what heights you could rise to in your personal and professional life if you put all of your thinking into focus? So much of our brain capacity is unused and lying dormant. In a world that centers on acting on impulse and making snap decisions, what we need to do is put on the brakes. Even more important, how can we teach our children to make their own decisions, form their own opinions, and learn to become the independent thinkers that leaders and inventors must develop? What if you knew the secret of thinking so that your life would improve tenfold and help you achieve all the goals you have in life? Then you could pass these skills on to your children and grandchildren.

Critical thinking is developed over time and is like learning any sport or art. You can’t just get up one morning and say, “I think I’ll become a critical thinker today.” No one can simply will it into happening. For many, it takes years to develop a critical thinking knack. In some older citizens, we call it, “wisdom.”

The only paths through which a person can develop insightful thinking are by knowing and accepting the truth that there are flaws in your thinking. You must also constantly practice becoming a thinker who can effectively solve problems through logical thinking rather than emotions.

Becoming a critical thinker can help you develop strategies where you overcome the obstacles that life presents. Here are some obstacles you may want to obliterate from your life – and that’s possible with critical thinking:

Analyze the influences in your life. Learn to make your own decisions rather than falling under those influences.


Get your ego under control. Your ego may be keeping you back from advancing at work and from developing better relationships. Critical thinking can help you think without the influence of an inflated ego.


• Solve problems. Being too scattered to solve problems and “thinking” with emotions usually doesn’t solve anything. Using critical thinking can help you get in touch with your emotions and solve problems through logical thinking.


• Stop wasting time. You may be wasting entire days of productivity by going in many directions at once. We pride ourselves on multi-tasking, but in doing more, are we accomplishing less? We may not actually be enjoying anything we do to waste time because we know we’re going to be behind on our work or frustrated about wasting the day. Critical thinking can teach you how to evaluate your time and spend it wisely.

We all have a great capacity to think critically and to improve our lives immensely, but most of the time, it’s dormant. That’s because it’s undeveloped. We can make it better with practice, just as we would when learning a musical instrument or sport.

Non-critical thinking is a habit that we’re not even mindful of most of the time. We sit, staring at a mindless program on television, playing mindless video games, or engaging in gossip or other pursuits that don’t require critical thinking. Deep down in our hearts, we know that we are spinning our wheels.

If you want to develop the traits of a critical thinker, know that you must study and research – then, put what you’ve learned into practice on a daily basis. It’s worth the effort. Your life and that of those you care about will be happier for it.

Remember, “If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about.”

HERO OR VILLAIN?

Blackbeard: The Birth of America

Written by Samuel Marquis

This novel is an interesting work of historical fiction. It is carefully researched and well-written, though it probably goes a tad too long. Readers are presented with a Blackbeard who may not have been a cutthroat pirate but an early proponent of democracy. Did Blackbeard espouse the cause of the Revolution? Was this the reason the Crown was so desperate to get rid of him? How much of an influence did the pirates’ system of democracy influence the times?

Perhaps Blackbeard’s image as a cruel, inhumane character can be attributed to colorful imagination and oral storytelling passed down through the generations. In any case, Marquis presents an argument that must be considered. Historians spend countless hours sifting through research to form conclusions and these conclusions are often open to multiple possibilities and answers.

I would recommend the book as a thoughtful and interesting perspective on The Golden Age of Piracy and Blackbeard in particular.

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STEPS TO SUCCESS

5 Things Every Author Needs to Know

Written by Geoff Affleck

A nice primer for first-time and newbie authors. Every author needs to decide not only who they are writing for but what problem they are solving for that reader. Before putting pen to paper, the new author must have an overall plan. That includes a marketing plan that focuses on the needs of the audience. She should prepare them with blog articles, videos, and free resources or tools. How will the author sell the book once published?

The book itself needs a great cover, title, book description, categories, and keywords that will gain online traffic and eye appeal when placed in a bookstore. An author needs credibility with reviews and, if possible, testimonials. Ask for reviews inside the book. Give readers a call to action. If possible, place links to additional resources inside the book. Give more than you get.

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Looking for more resources? You’ll find them on my website http://www.LittleMissHISTORY.com

A FRESH APPROACH

Your Brain Is Always Learning

Written by Mark Robson

The author takes a novel approach to breaking bad habits and replacing them with good ones. He talks about mindfulness being used as a technique to figure out what your bad habits are and the techniques you can use to change them.

First, one must discover the triggers for bad habits, why the need for change, and the environment that needs to be adjusted. The author discusses behaviors and rewards and the understanding that one will face both successes and failures in facing them. But by providing rewards for success and not beating ourselves up for failure, there is a way to employ mindfulness to eliminate bad habits and replace them with good ones.

Recommended for readers who are serious about changing habits and are looking for a practical way to succeed.

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COLOR OUR WOLD #ABLAZE IN COLOR – virtual book tour and giveaway

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CHILDREN’S BOOK REVIEW AND JEANNE WALKER HARVEY

ABOUT THE BOOK

Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

Written by Jeanne Walker Harvey

Illustrated by Loveis Wise

Ages 4-8 | 40 Pages

Publisher: HarperCollins | ISBN-13: 9780063021891

Publisher’s Synopsis: Celebrate the life-changing power of art in this inspiring and stunningly illustrated picture book biography of American artist Alma Thomas.

Meet an incredible woman who broke down barriers throughout her whole life and is now known as one of the most preeminent painters of the 20th century. Told from the point of view of young Alma Thomas, readers can follow along as she grows into her discovery of the life-changing power of art.

As a child in Georgia, Alma Thomas loved to spend time outside, soaking up the colors around her. And her parents filled their home with color and creativity despite the racial injustices they faced. After the family moved to Washington DC, Alma shared her passion for art by teaching children. When she was almost seventy years old, she focused on her own artwork, inspired by nature and space travel.

In this celebration of art and the power of imagination, Jeanne Walker Harvey and Loveis Wise tell the incredible true story of Alma Thomas, the first Black woman to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum in New York City and to have her work chosen for the White House collection. With her bold and vibrant abstract paintings, Alma set the world ablaze with color.

Ablaze with Color includes extensive backmatter with photos, an author’s and illustrator’s note, a timeline, and a list of sources and resources, which will be a great tool for parents, educators, and librarians. Perfect for Women’s History Month and Black History Month units alongside such favorites as Malala’s Magic Pencil, Hidden Figures, and Mae Among the Stars.

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3zCihtO

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/a/2078/9780063021891

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jeanne Walker Harvey has been a longtime docent at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Just like Alma Thomas, Jeanne believes that art brings us joy. Her other picture books include Maya Lin: Artist-Architect of Light and Lines and My Hands Sing the Blues: Romare Bearden’s Childhood Journey. Jeanne studied literature and psychology at Stanford University. She lives in Northern California.

Visit her online at www.jeanneharvey.com.

ABOUT THE ILLUSTRATOR

Loveis Wise is an illustrator and designer from Washington, DC. They are currently based in Los Angeles and their work often speaks to themes of joy and liberation. Their work can be found through the New Yorker, Google, Adobe, and the New York Times.

You can find them online at www.loveiswise.com.

MY REVIEW OF THIS BOOK

Ablaze in Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

Written by Jeanne Walker Harvey

Illustrated by Loveis Wise

Harvey and Wise share the story of the first black woman to have her work exhibited in a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York City. Michele Obama chose her Resurrection painting as the first Black woman’s art displayed in the White House.

Alma grew up in segregated Georgia where schools and institutions remained segregated at the time. Her parents countered that by opening their home to books of all sorts and teachers who gave lectures. Alma preferred to be outside absorbing the colors, sights, and sounds of nature.

Alma’s parents moved to Washington, DC as she turned fifteen. Schools and institutions remained closed to black students. As alma matured, she followed in her parents’ footsteps and brought art to students in her home. She organized field trips and encouraged them to display their work.

When Alma retired from teaching, she turned back to creating her own art projects, infusing them with the colors of nature. She grabbed inspiration from the space program of the late sixties. Galleries soon took notice of her brilliant abstract pieces, leading to her solo exhibit and notoriety. The Mayor of Washington, DC proclaimed “Alma Thomas Day,” on September 9, 1972.

The book features stunning illustrations, along with a timeline of Thomas’s life and historical events. Harvey provides references for young readers to satiate their curiosity and expand their knowledge. Highly recommended resource for students and teachers in elementary, middle school, and beyond.

GIVEAWAY

Enter for a chance to win a classroom set of the picture book Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas!

Three (3) winners receive:

A classroom set of Ablaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas, autographed and personalized for each student and the teacher by Jeanne Walker Harvey (no more than 30 books per set).

https://gleam.io/N6hGR/ablaze-with-color-book-giveaway

TOUR SCHEDULE

Saturday, January 15, 2022The Children’s Book ReviewA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Monday, January 18, 2022Some the WiserA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Tuesday, January 19, 2022Barbara Ann Mojica’s BlogA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Wednesday, January 20, 2022Twirling Book PrincessA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Thursday, January 21, 2022Lisa’s ReadingA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Friday, January 22, 2022Glass of Wine, Glass of MilkA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Monday, January 25, 2022Heart to HeartA book giveaway ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Tuesday, January 26, 2022Satisfaction for Insatiable ReadersA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Wednesday, January 27, 2022Life Is What It’s CalledA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Thursday, January 28, 2022Books Are Magic TooA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Friday, January 29, 2022The Momma SpotA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Monday, February 1, 2022Writer with WanderlustA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Tuesday, February 2, 2022Me Two BooksA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Wednesday, February 3, 2022icefairy’s Treasure ChestA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas
Thursday, February 4, 2022BookShelfMommaA book review ofAblaze with Color: A Story of Painter Alma Thomas

COOKING FOR KIDS MADE SIMPLE

Illustrated Step-By-Step Baking Cookbook for Kids: 30 easy and delicious recipes

Written and illustrated by Skye Wade

A fun cookbook for kids of any age.

I particularly like the layout and the comprehensive approach. Basic kitchen safety and setting up are tackled first. The recipes are broken down into food groups. You can choose by the amount of time the recipe involves or the type of meal. There is a chart that indicates whether it is appropriate for a picnic, special occasion, or a snack. Readers are given explanations of the common vocabulary used in recipes and the type of equipment needed for different recipes. A rating sheet allows the cook to rate different types of recipes so they can critique their masterpieces.

As the author indicates, younger children should always be supervised by an adult.

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